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Punta Veleno climb takes time out of Roche

Posted 19 April 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Nicolas Roche endured a tough day on the penultimate stage of the Giro del Trention dropping over six minutes to stage winner Domencio Pozzovivo (Colnago –CSF Inox) on the hellish finishing climb of the Punta Veleno.

The hors category mountain is one of the toughest climbs in world cycling with long sections tipping over 20% gradient. It was all the harder coming at the end of a 167.8 kilometre long mountain stage.

Just as he did yesterday, Roche arrived at the foot of the final climb with all of the other big name favourites. He was soon on the limit on the steeper sections and was forced to dig extremely deep to limit his losses after losing contact with the front group.

Roche wasn't the only rider suffering up the 8.5km climb as the time gaps between all of the stage finishers were huge. Pozzovivo finished more than three minutes ahead of all but 13 riders and he finished 22 minutes in front of the last rider on the road.

The murderous Punta Veleno is so narrow and steep that team cars were not permitted to follow behind the riders to the stage finish. Instead, team staff were forced to follow their riders up the slopes on the back of a motorbike whilst clinging on to spare wheels.

Pozzovivo was clearly the best climber on Stage 2 but began the final climb too far back to affect the stage outcome. Today, he made no such mistake and he showed his good from once more, this time from the front of the race. The diminutive Italian finished 23 seconds ahead of the runner up Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas-Cannondale) and 1:12 in front of Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) who finished third.

Pozzovivo also takes over the race lead and he now sits 25 seconds ahead of Cunego. Having conceded over six minutes to Pozzovivo on the stage, Roche has fallen down the general classification and is now back in 29th place overall.

The AG2R  La Mondiale man will have another chance to test his form on tomorrow's 177.5km final stage from Castelletto di Brenzone to Passo Pordoi. There is another climb to the finish but with gradients more in the region of 6%, it is far more forgiving than today's nightmare trip up the Punta Veleno.

Results

Giro del Trentino

Stage Three: Piccoli Frutti - Brenzone, 167.8 kilometres

1. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
2. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale at 23 seconds
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD at 1 minute 12 seconds
4. José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli at 1 minute 20 seconds
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team at 1 minute 40 seconds
6. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 2 minutes 7 seconds
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp at 2 minutes 12 seconds
8. Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 2 minutes 12 seconds
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team at 2 minutes 12 seconds
10. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone at 2 minutes 33 seconds

33. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) at 6 minutes 37 seconds

General Classification after Stage Three

1. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 8:20:42
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD at 25 seconds
3. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale at at 49 seconds
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team at 50 seconds
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team at 1 minute 42 seconds
6. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone at 1 minute 47 seconds
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp at 1 minute 48 seconds
8. José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli at 1 minute 48 seconds
9. Marco Pinotti (MBC Racing) at 1 minute 51 seconds
10. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 2 minutes 6 seconds

29. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) at 6 minutes 45 seconds

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